ISAIAH SESSION 9 — WHO DO YOU TRUST?

Text: Isaiah 7:1-25

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He assigns me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give this a title, I would borrow from John Oswalt, commentator for Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament — “Who Do You Trust?” 

Your answer determines whether you receive the Lord’s mercy, or His discipline and punishment. As I have said throughout this study, His aim in discipline and punishment is that you turn back to Him!

Verse 1 — 

King Jotham had reigned for 16 years after Uzziah. Now Uzziah’s grandson, Ahaz, reigned as king of Judah. King Ahaz faced a threat from Syria, which had joined forces with northern Israel (Ephraim, pronounced Ef-RAH-yim) against Jerusalem, to wage war over it and conquer it. But they would learn that it is the LORD who determines what will happen to His people, not man.

King Ahaz had sought help from Assyria, and had made a deal with them, in order to defeat Israel and Syria (2Kings 16:7-9). There were spiritual implications to the deal, per Oswalt. In order to receive help from Assyria, King Ahaz had to agree to recognize the Assyrian gods as being real, and agree that he would come under the “lordship” of these false gods. Thus, his deal with Assyria was a total defection from the LORD!

Foolishly, King Ahaz did not seek help from the LORD, but from Assyria, whose king would later threaten Judah’s existence. When the church and individual believers seek man’s help, and when they make deals with the world, there are always spiritual consequences

Do you see that today’s believers and churches commit the same sin as King Ahaz, by making deals with the world, by accepting and welcoming practices and beliefs that are completely contrary to the Lord, and by trusting in man and in the things of the world? 

Do you understand that such things are a spiritual defection from the Lord? Do you see that the price of your defection is discipline, punishment, and exile from His presence? O church! O believer! I pray you have ears to hear this truth, and that you repent.

Verse 2 — 

When King Ahaz heard that the Syrians had encamped in Ephraim (northern Israel), his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind. What a picture Isaiah paints, with this word from the LORD!

Prior to this threat, King Ahaz had been defeated by Syria’s army, and separately, had been defeated by northern Israel’s army, and suffered great losses in those battles. Now, Syria and Ephraim had joined forces against Judah! King Ahaz and the people of Judah and Jerusalem had reason to fear total annihilation in the natural. 

How amazing that they still did not repent and return to the LORD, but how often I see it, even in today’s believers! Many hold fast to their sin, rather than to the LORD.

Verse 3 —

The LORD instructed Isaiah to meet King Ahaz, specifying that both Isaiah and his son Shear-jashub (only a remnant will return) should go. They were to meet him at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the fuller’s field. 

Oswalt theorizes that King Ahaz was there to assess the vulnerability of Jerusalem’s water supply, which was always a target when any enemy threatened and attacked. But I believe that it was simply a meeting place between Jerusalem and her enemies, per 2Kings 18:17, Isaiah 7:3, and Isaiah 36:2. The bottom line was that Isaiah was ordered there by the LORD to prophesy to and warn Ahaz.

In addition, the name of Isaiah’s son was a promise from the LORD of impending doom for Judah and Jerusalem, but not at the hands of Ephraim or Syria, or even Assyria. The LORD had already planned for Judah and Jerusalem to be overrun and taken into exile by Babylon. But the name of Isaiah’s son was also a promise to Judah and Jerusalem that  a remnant would return after the 70-year Babylonian exile.

Verse 4 —

The LORD instructed Isaiah to say, Take care (take heed) and be calm (be at rest), have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on the account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, OR the fierce anger of Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel. 

Their fierce anger meant nothing to the LORD. They could not change His plan regarding Judah and Jerusalem. In the LORD’s eyes, they were the burned-out stubs left after the fire, for God had already judged them. They could do no harm, because they had burned out. The fire of His judgment weakened them, and they would be easily broken by the LORD. 

Verses 5-7 —

These burned-out stubs had planned evil against Jerusalem and Judah, to terrorize  and set up their own puppet king, Tabeel, in Jerusalem. Therefore, the Lord GOD said, It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass. 

Verses 8-9 —

Damascus was Syria’s capitol. Rezin was only a king of Syria, and his throne was in Damascus. Samaria was Ephraim’s capitol. Pekah, the son of Remaliah, was only king of Ephraim. Both Syria and Ephraim would be destroyed. Isaiah prophesied that Ephraim would go into Assyrian exile within 65 years. As a result, Northern Israel would no longer be a people. The LORD already had their judgment ready, per Verse 16, and it would surely come to pass, for He is King, not them!

No enemy is able to foil the LORD’s plans for His people — even His plans to discipline and punish. His plans were for Judah and Jerusalem to go into Babylonian exile. He chooses who becomes their conqueror — not their enemies!

But if Ahaz would not believe in the sovereignty of the LORD, pledged by the LORD through Isaiah. he surely would not be established. Either he would entrust himself to God, or he would continue to shake in his boots. He would either trust Assyria, or take hold of the promise God offered, that He would rescue Judah and Jerusalem, for the time being.

Verse 10-12 —

The LORD directly asked Ahaz to ask Him for a sign from “the LORD your God.” No matter what sign Ahaz asked for, the LORD would do it!

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!” It was false humility from King Ahaz, who regularly rebelled against the LORD. How foolish! God can see right through false humility. And It was the LORD who instructed Ahaz to ask. Even in this, Ahaz rebelled against the LORD!

Verses 13-14 —

So, Isaiah rebuked Ahaz. Listen now! Is it too slight a thing to try the patience of men (Isaiah himself, who has warned Ahaz again and again)? He was weary of prophesying to Ahaz! Must you also try the patience of my God, Isaiah asked? 

Therefore, here is the sign I will give you, says the LORD. I am sovereign, and I will give you a sign anyway! 

Behold! Look and see! Pay attention! A virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (“with us” God). Matthew confirms that Jesus’ birth fulfilled that prophecy —

Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

In speaking of a child to be born to a virgin, he LORD confirmed that the Jews would not be entirely wiped out by the coming Babylonian invasion. A remnant of God’s people would return to the land, and the descendants of King Ahaz would see a miraculous sign — a virgin would give birth to a boy! 

What would His name be? God with us, Immanuel! In the distant future, 700 years from when Isaiah prophesied, the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come by a most miraculous means!

Verses 15-16 —

And this “God with us” would eat curds and honey, which were abundantly available as food. By the time the child reached the age of moral accountability (12 years old), both northern Israel and Syria would no longer exist as nations. 

The last of northern Israel would be taken into captivity in 722 B.C., over seven hundred years before Jesus Christ was born. Isaiah had not been shown by the LORD the exact arrival time of this child, but certainly, this word from the LORD through Isaiah was to show King Ahaz of Judah that in the future, these nations would be totally eradicated, their governments never to be rebuilt.

Verses 17-20 —

In 5:26, the LORD spoke through Isaiah that God would whistle for nations, to come against Israel. Now He specifies that the nations to whom He will whistle.

In that day, when Ephraim will be judged by Him, He will whistle for the bee of Assyria, and the fly of Egypt. They will be like vast swarms of insects, suffocating and overwhelming Ephraim. 

The description of Ephraim’s demise was a warning from the LORD to Judah and Jerusalem. They would be just as vulnerable to Babylonian invasion as northern Israel was to Assyrian invasion, unless they turned back to the LORD!

These bees and flies would be hired by the LORD, whistled for by Him! Assyria would be the agent of the LORD, to mete out discipline and punishment to Ephraim and Syria. The LORD would “shave with a razor the head and the hair of the legs,” and even shave off the beard. Ephraim would be disgraced. 

Verses 21-22 —

Indeed, in the day when the LORD judged Ephraim, each man would keep alive only one heifer and a pair of sheep. These animals would produce milk for curds, enough to survive. And honey was available from bees. But in the end, the people of Ephraim would be killed or carried off by the Assyrian armies.

Verses 23-25 —

The LORD gave Isaiah a vision of the extreme devastation of northern Israel Thousands of valuable grapevines would be replaced with briars and thorns. 

The formerly fruitful land would only be suitable as a hunting ground. It would no longer be suitable for farming. All the land that had been cultivated with hoes would be avoided, because it would be overrun by briars and thorns. Oxen and sheep would graze there, trampling down everything in their path.

The LORD’s warning through Isaiah is also a warning to today’s church. Much of the church relies on man’s ways to try to shore up its attendance statistics. Leaders are chosen based on measuring instruments devised by men, rather than on the LORD’s wisdom. 

Now is the time to return to the LORD, O church, O believer, for if you do not, He will surely deal with you, just as He promised five of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation —

Revelation 2:5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent.”

Revelation 2:16 ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”

Revelation 2:22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.

23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”

Revelation 3:3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”

Revelation 3:15   “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of (vomit you out of) My mouth.”

Lord, may Your church and all believers heed this warning from You through Isaiah to King Ahaz, for it is directed to them as well. May they repent of their reliance on men and on the world. May they turn back to you, and rely on and trust in You and You alone. Amen. So be it.

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MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE!

[SW380] 5/25/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Miraculous Deliverance”

Text: Judges 6:6-8, 16, Judges 7

When does the Lord miraculously deliver? I will show you through His miraculous deliverance of Israel, in Judges 7. I will also speak from my own experience, for the Lord miraculously delivered me from progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), and much more importantly, from my sin nature. Lord, be glorified!

In Israel’s case, the people had disobeyed the Lord by worshiping the false gods of the land. So He greatly humbled His people. When they repented, He ensured that it would be impossible for them to conquer their enemies except by His hand, so that they could not boast that they delivered themselves. Then the Lord miraculously delivered them! 

It is the same for you, O church, O believer! Like Israel, many in the church worship the god of Self. They pridefully boast in man’s wisdom and the ways of the world system that defies God. They pridefully boast in their own power to control their inborn sin nature. 

They pridefully boast that by their own power, they are able to keep the church doors open, and boast in the megachurches they have built upon the foundation of worship of the god of Self, rather than on Jesus Christ, the true Builder of the church! So He will greatly humble them.

Judges 6

Verses 4-6 —

The Midianite and Amalekites were a vast army! When Israel had sown seed, the Midianites would come and camp like a swarm of locusts, and destroy Israel’s produce and take their animals. So, Israel was brought very low, and cried to the LORD. 

I tell you the truth, O church, O believer! You are currently spiritually fruitless and  unproductive because Satan has plundered you. The Lord has allowed Satan to sift you (Luke 22:31), so that you will be brought low and humbled.

How is Satan sifting you? His false prophets, like savage wolves, have come in among the flock, and have even risen from among you (Acts 20:29-30). They pander to the god of Self with words that please you, but do not please God. Their words displease Him because the words they speak lead you down the broad path to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

Satan and his children are much more powerful than you. The Lord has not yet miraculously delivered you, because you have not seen your condition and repented. You say you are rich and have become wealthy and are in need of nothing (Revelation 3:17).

Therefore, just as He did with Israel, and just as He did with me, He will bring you very low. Then, when you cry out to Him, it will be as with Israel, and with me. He will miraculously deliver you!

Verse 16 —

When Israel repented and cried out to the LORD, He promised them victory. Then, when Gideon sought confirmation, the LORD gave him a sign to show that He would do it (see 6:36-40). 

The Lord promises miraculous delivery over the god of Self and the sin nature to all in the church who know that they have been brought low. He promises miraculous delivery to those who turn from worshiping the god of Self, turn back to Him, and cry out to Him!

And from my own experience, I know it is true. I worshiped everything but the Lord. Yet I knew something was missing in my life. I sought Him briefly, then dismissed Him. But then I learned that He is much more than what I was taught in Sunday school! And in my humbled condition, I hungered and thirsted for Him. And just as He promises in Matthew 5:6, He miraculously delivered me, first from progressive MS, and then from the sin nature by filling me with Himself!

Judges 7

Verse 1 —

After the LORD gave Gideon the first miracle to testify that He would deliver Israel, Gideon and all the people who were with him rose early and camped by the spring of Harod. The vast camp of Midian was on the north side of them, in the valley.

Then the LORD said the most unlikely thing to Gideon and his small army — “You have too many people with you, for Me to give Midian into your hands. If I do it now, you will become boastful. You will glorify yourselves, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’” 

The LORD will deliver you when you realize that man’s wisdom and ways and power, and the world system that defies God, cannot deliver you. He will bring you low, so you look up!

Then the conditions will be right for Him to miraculously deliver you from your sin nature, the god of Self, and Satan’s grip, for Satan is the one who manipulates the sin nature in you! It is the most crucial healing of all, for those who are slaves to sin will not remain in His house forever (John 8:35)!

When will He miraculously deliver you? When you repent and cry out to Him. How will He miraculously deliver you from the sin nature? He will crucify it (Galatians 5:24), and fill you with His Holy Spirit. 

Then you will walk in His victory over Satan and his vast army. Like Paul, you will no longer boast in anything but the cross of Jesus Christ —

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Verses 3-4 —

So the LORD directed Gideon to speak before his army, proclaiming that any who were afraid and trembling against the vast army of Midian should go home. Of the 32,000 Israelites in Gideon’s army, 22,000 went home. But 10,000 remained. 

Then the LORD said, “The people are still too many.” So He commanded Gideon to take them to the spring by the camp, and the LORD would test them there. After the LORD tested them, He would tell Gideon which ones to send home, and which would remain with Gideon.

How will the Lord test you, O believer? The Lord will not miraculously deliver you until you see that you are spiritually poverty-stricken (Matthew 5:3). Then you will mourn over your spiritual condition (Matthew 5:4), for you will know that you cannot deliver yourself. 

Those who see their poverty and mourn are the ones whom He will miraculously deliver! Blessed are you, when you come to that realization, for He will fill you with the Comforter, the Holy Spirit!

Verses 5-6 —

What was the LORD’s test? Whoever put his hand to his mouth and lapped water with his tongue, as a dog laps, was to be taken aside into one group.  Whoever kneeled to drink was to be taken aside in another group.

Those who lapped the water were 300. The other 9,700 kneeled to drink water. It was the LORD who would miraculously deliver them, so the manner of drinking water did not matter. But the way Gideon’s men drank was the LORD’s sign of who Gideon was to choose.

The Lord asks you today, O church, O believer, “Who has believed our message?” He promises that He will reveal His arm — his power — to those who believe the message! (See Isaiah 53:1.)

Verses 7-8 —

Then the LORD said to Gideon, I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped, and will give the Midianites into your hands. So let the rest go, each one to his house.”

Now the conditions were right for the LORD to miraculously deliver them. It was absolutely impossible for 300 men to defeat the sea of Midianites who were below them, in the valley.

So, Gideon obeyed the LORD, and was left with just 300 men. There would be no boasting on the part of Israel. The LORD would deliver them, for they could not deliver themselves!

When the Lord miraculously delivers you, there will be no boasting on your part. You will know that He has done what is impossible for you to do, in your own power!

Verses 9-10 — 

The LORD commanded Gideon to arise and go down against the camp, for He said, “I have given it to you.” But He added that if Gideon was afraid, the LORD would give him another sign. He commanded Gideon and Purah his servant to go down to the camp. He wanted them to hear what the Midianites said.

The LORD would give the Midianites a revelation, by which the faith of Gideon and Purah would be strengthened!

The Lord gives you this word today, through me, so that every humbled believer who cries out to Him will be confident in His promise of miraculous deliverance over the sin nature and Satan.

Verses 11-14 — 

So Gideon took Purah by night, and went down near one of the outposts of the vast camp. Gideon overheard a Midianite relating a dream to his friend, and heard his friend’s interpretation of it — Israel would defeat Midian by the sword of Gideon! 

If you have repented and cried out to the Lord, He will show you in the Word of God, or even from this word today, that He will miraculously deliver you from the disease of sin with which you are plagued, just as He did me. And you will see that He will also miraculously deliver you from natural disease, just as He did with me!

Verses 15-18 —

So Gideon went back to Israel’s camp and related the dream and interpretation. He was sure they would be victorious! So, he commanded the 300 to arise, divided them by hundreds, and posted them around the edges of the Midianite camp, in groups of 100. Each was equipped with a torch hidden in a pitcher, and a trumpet. None had a sword. 

Though this scripture does not say it, I believe that the LORD instructed Gideon in the way he was to equip his army of 300. No weapons, just lights and trumpets! It is a sign to you and me, today. Keep listening!

When you repent and cry out to Him, He will see to it that you have no weapon with which to fight, and must rely on Him to deliver you. Then, when you are miraculously delivered, it will be clear to you and everyone around you that the LORD is your Deliverer!

Verses 19-20 — 

Gideon took his hundred to the outskirts of the camp at the middle watch (from midnight to 4 a.m.). The Midianites had just posted their guards for the watch. 

Suddenly, Gideon and his 100 men blew their trumpets, as did the other 200, and broke the pitchers, revealing the light of the torches, and cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” They glorified God in advance of victory!

The Lord has promised to miraculously deliver you from Satan and the sin nature in you. So praise and glorify Him as you stay and wait in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). 

O clay pot whom He has made, when He breaks you, in a moment of time, He will fill you with His Holy Spirit! Then His light will shine brightly from you!

Verses 21-23 —

Each of the 300 Israelites stood in his place around the camp. They did not fight, but simply stood and saw the salvation of their God (Exodus 14:3)!

The LORD confused the Midianite camp, and many of them slaughtered each other. Those who remained fled for their lives! But Gideon gathered other tribes of Israel with him, and they pursued and destroyed the Midianite army.

Why did the Midianites become confused and slaughter each other? Why did the remnant flee? Was it the sound of the trumpets, or the lights surrounding the camp? No! They saw the sword of the LORD! 

When you are filled with the light of His Holy Spirit, you will simply stand and watch the Lord defeat Satan! Satan’s children will see His light in you. They will cry out in alarm, become confused, attack each other, and flee! And Satan himself will flee, because you have submitted to God (James 4:6-7). 

The Lord’s miraculous deliverance from the disease of sin and of natural disease is the same today! Do you now see that, in order to receive it, you must humble yourself, see your spiritual poverty, and repent? I tell you the truth, if you do, it will be just as with Israel, and just as with me! He will do it!

Lord Jesus, you said that whatever I ask the Father, He will do, because I love You! Father, I ask that many will see the truth of the words You have given me, and will be miraculously delivered in every way! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 8 — SEEING THE LORD

Text: Isaiah 6:1-13

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Seeing the Lord.”

Verse 1 —

Something happened to Isaiah near the beginning of his assignment to prophesy to Judah and Jerusalem. In the year of King Uzziah’s death, He saw the Lord, sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 

Isaiah saw the Lord — the Christ, Jesus — in the temple which is in heaven.  That it was Jesus is confirmed by the Apostle John —

John 12:40  “I have blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.”41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about Him.

God the Father said this of the Jews who rejected His Son. So, Isaiah saw a vision of his Messiah! And what was the Lord doing, in Isaiah’s vision?

Sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted. Indeed, He sits at the right hand of the Father, just as He did before anything was (John 1:1-2, 17:5, and will continue to do for eternity. There is no place more lofty and exalted than to be seated — not standing, but seated and equal — at the right hand of God the Father!

And what else did Isaiah find remarkable? The train of His robe filled the temple. I do not want you to miss the significance of the length of the train of His robe. In those days, when a king conquered another king, he would cut off a piece of the defeated king’s robe, and have it sewn onto the train of the his own robe. Thus, the more victories, the longer the train of the robe! 

I tell you, Isaiah saw Jesus, the coming Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who never is defeated, who is always victorious, and thus has a robe with a train that fills the temple in heaven — the one of which the earthly temple was a much smaller copy. Jesus always is victorious! And when you come to Him, and receive His salvation and reconciliation, and ask Him to crucify your sin nature, you will share in His victories! He will set you free, indeed, from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)!

Verse 2 —

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings. With the first pair of wings, each seraph covered his face. With two wings, each seraph covered his feet. And with the remaining two wings, each seraph flew. Their faces and feet were covered as an expression of awe and reverence, for they stood in the presence of God the Father and God the Son.

Verse 3 —

And one seraph called out to another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts — a title of the One who was sent to save us — the whole earth is filled with His glory, His splendor, His weighty presence. 

Holy, Holy, Holy is He! The Lord is completely pure, completely different from the fallen world to which He was sent, but of which He was not part. If you truly come into His presence, if you truly see Him as He is, and not what the church has made Him, you will cry these things, just as the seraphim did! And when the Holy One comes into you, He will make you holy, also.

What has the church made Him? She has made Him into her own image. 

Verse 4 — 

The Lord called out! His voice is so powerful that the foundations (door sockets) of the thresholds of the temple trembled. And the temple filled with smoke, like a vapor, and Isaiah could not minister, but could still see —

Revelation 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power . . .

It was just as it was at the dedication of the temple that Solomon had built for the Lord —

1Kings 8:10  When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.

Verse 5 —

And what is the reaction of all who see the glory of the Lord? An absolute and complete understanding of our innate impurity of heart!

Then Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” I am undone! I will be destroyed, for my eyes have seen Him, and He is holy, and I am not! In the presence of His holiness, you will feel just as Isaiah did!

I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips. Jesus said —

Luke 6:45 “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (NIV)

His lips were impure because his heart was impure, and so were the lips and hearts of the people of God! What would Isaiah do? 

Verses 6-7 — 

Isaiah could do nothing, but a seraph flew to him, with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. And the seraph touched Isaiah’s mouth with it, saying, “Behold, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

It was a picture of the work Jesus Christ would do when the Father sent Him to the earth. He is the coal that touches us and purifies our hearts! He is the refiner (Malachi 3:1-3) who takes away (turns off, removes) our moral perversity and willful disobedience —

Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send My messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 

Malachi 2:2 But who can endure the day of His coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness . . .

This is more than a picture of salvation — it is a picture of His purification of human hearts! The lips are clean, thus the heart is clean! He suddenly comes into your body, which suddenly becomes His temple!

Beloved, you can do nothing, in order to purify your heart. But since Jesus came and died and rose and ascended and was glorified, He is the purifier of hearts. And when does He purify our hearts?  

When He fills us with His Spirit! Peter confirmed it, testifying to the leaders of the church regarding the Gentile, Cornelius, and his house —

Acts 15:9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

Verse 8 —

Now Isaiah was ready for a higher calling than he could ever imagine. After he was purified, he heard the voice of the Lord — again, the coming Christ — saying, “Who shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then Isaiah said, Here am I. Send me!”

Who will go for Us! I do not want you to miss it. Who is the “Us?” He is not speaking of angels, nor seraphim. They do not send. Only God sends. So, He speaks to God the Father! Who will go for Us, to announce My coming?

So Isaiah does not hesitate to say, Send me! Here am I! I will do it! It is the same for all whose hearts have been purified. We no longer serve ourselves, but Him!

Verse 9 —

In mankind’s eyes, Isaiah’s assignment is not glorious. He will serve God by speaking the truth to His rebellious people, but no one will listen! The Lord said, Go and tell them, “Keep on listening but do not perceive, keep on looking but do not understand.” 

Why would the Lord tell them that? The teachers of His people pored over the Bible, dissecting it but yet perceiving nothing, and understanding nothing. And God’s people did not go and look for themselves then, nor do they now. They simply listened to their blind teachers. Jesus said —

Matthew 13:13 “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’”

But Isaiah is to let them alone, while he continues to faithfully speak the words of the Lord. As Jesus Christ said of the blind teachers of that day —

Matthew 15:14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Who are you listening to, beloved! Know the Word, so you are not deceived!

Verse 10 —

And by the words the Lord will have Isaiah speak, the hearts of His rebellious people will be rendered less and less responsive. The callouses on their hearts will become even thicker, their ears duller, and they will screw their eyes shut. They will not want to hear that they need to repent and return to the Lord! And so they will refuse Isaiah’s words. 

It is the same today, in the church. “Repent” is a word seldom heard in our hallowed halls. If someone should speak it, they are rejected, just as Isaiah was!

They will not repent because they do not want to repent. But if they did repent, they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return to the Lord and be healed in their relationship with Him!

Verses 11-12 — 

Then Isaiah said, How long? Lord, how long will they continue to rebel against You? How long must I speak, knowing that they will not listen?

And the Lord answered, until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly desolate. Isaiah sees that the LORD, God the Father, has removed men far away, and Isaiah views forsaken places in the midst of the land.

Isaiah would speak, and Jeremiah and others after him. But because God’s people will refuse to listen, they will be destroyed, and their cities, houses, and the land itself will be utterly, completely desolate. They will no longer inhabit Jerusalem and Judah, because they will be killed in battle or carried off into exile by Babylon!

He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But He will discipline and punish them, for they are going their own foolish way, to their own hurt. I tell you the truth from my own experience, rebellion will ruin you! I was utterly desolate, exiled from the presence of the Lord! I was removed far away from Him, and was deserted because I deserted Him!

Verse 13 —

But there will be a tenth portion in it, some who will return to the land after 70 years of exile. They will reject Jesus Christ, though, for He will not fit their idea of who the Messiah should be and what He should say and do.

And so the land would be subject to burning once again, by the Romans in 70 AD.

That was the end of the temple, the end of temple worship. The Lord did it, that they might return to Him, see their Messiah, and ask Him to purify them so their bodies would become His temple. He only dwells in holy places, beloved!

There will be a stump that remains — even the holy seed, those who have believed into Jesus Christ.  He always leaves a remnant of His people, for He will keep His promise to David. 

There will be a remnant of Jews who attend synagogue and are taught by their rabbis that Jesus could not have possibly been the Messiah. They will continue with the traditions of Judaism, which they idolize. 

But the stump that is the holy seed will flourish. The Lord will purify their hearts when they have their own personal Pentecost. Then, those holy ones will go forth, shining with His light. 

Lord, may your people open their eyes, ears, and hearts to you! And may your church see herself, and repent! Amen, Lord! So be it.

GOD OR BAAL?

[SW379] 5/18/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“God or Baal?”

 Text: 1Kings 18:1, 15-41

Elijah asked God’s people who worshiped the LORD and Baal, “How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if your choice is Baal, follow him.” Jesus Christ asks today’s believers, “Will you worship My Father and Me, and no other, or will you continue to worship Us and the god of Self?”

Background

Baal   

The father of the false gods, the storm god, the god of lightning, wind, and rain. He was also the god of fertility. His name means “Master.” When his worshipers experienced drought and famine, or infertility, they believed they had displeased Baal, and offered their children in the fire to soothe his anger. Thus, they manipulated him so he would give them the prosperity that they wanted.

The god of Self — 

The one who follows this god and the Lord says, “I want to manipulate God into giving me what I want. If He will not give me what I want, I will look for another ‘god’ who will  give me what I want.” 

The root of worship of the god of Self  — the sin nature inborn in every human being since Adam. The sin nature of those who follow the god of Self is alive and well, and they are slaves of that nature! 

Do you remember Jesus’ words? He says he who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). And, beloved, Jesus says the slave to sin does not remain in His house forever (John 8:35).

The fruit of the god of Self 

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh (the sin nature) are evident (by outward behavior), which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities (hostility), strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions (heresies), 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you now see that that you must make an immediate choice?  Who you will follow — the god of Self, or the Lord? If you choose the god of Self, you will not inherit the kingdom of God (again, Galatians 5:21). Jesus Christ will erase your name from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

Therefore, pay close attention to the words the Lord has given me from 1Kings 18!

The LORD had imposed a three-year drought on the earth; therefore, there was a famine (see 1Kings 17:1). Why did He choose drought and famine, in order to discipline and punish His people for worshiping Baal? Because they believed Baal was the storm god, and therefore controlled rainfall. 

By imposing such an extended drought and famine on the whole earth, He judged both Baal and His own people who worshiped both Him and Baal. How? Baal was powerless against the drought and famine the LORD imposed on His people, and the people were unable to manipulate their false gods, and unable to manipulate the LORD.

There is a drought in today’s church. It is not a drought of natural water, but a drought of the living water that you receive when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, famine in today’s church has resulted. It is not a famine of natural food, but a famine of the true Word of God (Amos 8:11). This drought and famine is Jesus Christ’s discipline and punishment for the church’s worship of both Him and the god of Self. 

Across many denominations, and around the world, today’s believers are widely taught by today’s Ahabs and their prophets that Jesus Christ came to serve the god of Self. They are taught to declare their demands to the Lord, and decree that He must do them. I tell you, the god of Self seeks to manipulate God! How foolish!

Verses 1, 15-16   

After three years of drought and famine, the LORD said to Elijah, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” 

Obadiah, who worshiped and revered the LORD, heard that Elijah was going to Ahab, king of northern Israel, and was concerned for Elijah’s safety. Why? Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had killed all of the Lord’s prophets except 100 whom Obadiah had hidden (see Verse 3). Why? She did not like what they prophesied.

But Elijah was obedient to the LORD! So he told Obadiah, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” And Obadiah went to Ahab, instructing him to go and meet with Elijah.

This very day, I show myself to today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. The Lord has sent me to exhort them turn away from worshiping the god of Self, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin. His promise to those who turn back to Him is that He will send the rain of the Holy Spirit’s fullness to any who will hear and heed His words.

Some tell me that it is dangerous to speak these things! Today’s Ahabs and their followers will try to kill you (silence you), they say! But the Lord has made me stand before Him to hear His words and speak them. Therefore, I will surely speak frankly and bluntly to the church, just as I am required to speak (Ephesians 6:20)!

Verses 17-18 —

When Ahab saw Elijah, he called Elijah a troubler of Israel. But Elijah responded that it was Ahab and his father’s house “who are the  troublers of Israel, because you have forsaken (gone away from) the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.” 

Because Ahab and his house had chosen to follow Baal and Baal’s “family” the people of northern Israel followed Ahab into rebellion against the Lord. Because of their sin, Ahab and his followers were now troubled by the LORD by drought and famine!

It is the same today. Many worshipers of the god of Self, who are overseers and are in pulpits and are in pews, call me a troubler of the church because I continually call her to repent and return to the Lord, and I constantly warn her of the consequences of her sin. But I will continue to obey the Lord!

By calling me a troubler, today’s Ahabs turn things around, just as Ahab the troubler turned things around and accused Elijah! Today’s Ahabs are the troublers of the church, encouraging her to worship the god of Self. They have turned her into something that in no way resembles the church Jesus Christ inaugurated at Pentecost! 

Therefore, the Lord is troubling and will yet trouble today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. As I have said, He is has struck them with a drought, for they have no living water, and a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11). But He has also sent and is yet sending His prophets to trouble their hearts with the truth!

Verses 19-20 —

Elijah challenged Ahab to call all of Israel to him at Mount Carmel, along with as 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, the “mother” of Baal. Ahab obeyed Elijah in this, assembling all 850 false prophets and all Israel at Mount Carmel.

Through this message, I challenge all Ahabs and false prophets of the god of Self. Meet with the Lord, right here and right now. How? In the Word of God, from which I speak! 

Verse 21 —

Elijah came near to the people of Israel and said, How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow (follow after) Him. But if Baal (is your god), follow him.”  But the people did not answer him a word.

O believer, how long will you limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow after Him, obey Him, and worship Him and Him alone. But if the god of Self is the god you worship, follow after it, and perish, in the day of judgment.

Verses 22-29 —

Why did Elijah say that he was the only one left as a prophet of the LORD? There were yet 100 of the LORD’s prophets, hidden by Obadiah, as I have said. But Elijah was the only one out in the open, prophesying.

I know that there is a remnant of the Lord’s prophets who speak for Him in these days. Most have been expelled from the church by today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. Why? Like Jezebel, they do not like what the Lord’s prophets say. It is not the ear candy that the god of Self loves. 

But the Lord helps those who speak for Him, and we sing for joy, in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:6). And no one is able to destroy the eternal Word of God that they speak.

Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal, who prophesied out of their own imagination (Jeremiah 23:16). He challenged them to and get two oxen, choose one, cut it up, place it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Elijah would prepare the other ox, lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it.

Elijah instructed the prophets of Baal to prepare their offering and call on the name of their god (call him forth). They were to go first, for they were many. Then Elijah would call on the name of the LORD (calling Him forth). Elijah said, “The God who answers by fire (consuming the offering) He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good word.”

I stand against many false prophets, and I challenge them to prepare an offering for the god of Self, and call upon the name of the god of Self. Go first, for you are many. The God who answers by fire, He is God.

The prophets of Baal prepared their offering, and called on the name of Baal from morning to noon. O Baal, answer us! But there was no voice and no one answered. 

At noon, Elijah mocked them — “Call out loudly, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or gone aside (to relieve himself), or is on a journey, or is asleep, and must be wakened.” Psalm 115:4-8 describes false gods — they are the work of man’s hands. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or make any sound. Those who trust in them will become like them.

Then they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves until their blood gushed. When midday was past, they prophesied until the time that evening sacrifice was made to the LORD — 3:00 p.m., by our time today. 

Today’s Ahabs and their false prophets will cry to the god of Self from morning to noon. They will use every Self-worship and Self-help and Self-affirmation method they can conjure up, in order to get the attention of the god of Self. But the god of Self is no god at all, and cannot answer. So today’s Ahabs and their prophets will become exhausted by their efforts to get the god of Self to respond. 

Verses 30-37 —

Then Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down He prepared it for his sacrifice to the living God. He ordered it to be doused with water. Douse it! Douse it again! Douse it a third time! Wet it thoroughly, even the trough around it, to make it as hard as possible for it to be set afire!

In the natural, it seemed impossible to set me afire, for my sin nature was alive and well! My heart was completely hardened by my worship of the god of Self! But I testify that nothing is too difficult for the Lord! He consumed me, crucified the sin nature in me, purified my heart and now I am His servant. He has done it; therefore, it is He who is glorified — not me!

At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near to the altar he had built to the LORD, and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), today let it be known that You are God  in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.” 

Elijah continued, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people would know that You, O LORD are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Elijah knew that when the LORD consumed Elijah’s offering, the people would return to the LORD, for it would be the evidence that Elijah spoke for the LORD! 

I will call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on a cross at 3:00 p.m., about 2,000 years ago, at the time of the evening sacrifice! He is the true evening sacrifice — the whole of the Law of Moses speaks of Him! 

Because the god of Self in me is dead and buried, I am able to call the Lord forth. But He does not hear sinners (John 9:31).

So what will I call, when I call on His name? O Lord Jesus, let it be known today that You and Your Father and Your Spirit are God over all, and I am Your servant and have done these things at Your word.

I will say, Answer me, O Lord, that they may know that You, O Lord, are God, and You have turned their heart back again! O Lord, You have consumed me! I pray that many will see the fire with which You have permanently filled me, and will turn their hearts back to You!

But I know that not all will return to Him, for some in the church are not the church. In the day of judgment, listen to His words to those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and yet worship the god of Self and therefore continue to sin against Him —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (do) LAWLESSNESS (sin).’”

Verses 38-39 —

When Elijah called upon the LORD, the fire of the LORD instantly fell, consuming everything on the altar, and even the altar itself — the offering, the wood, the stones, and even the water in the trench.

When the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!

I asked the Lord to consume me so my brethren would  repent and turn from their worship of the god of Self, and fall on their faces, crying,“The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Having offered myself to the LORD as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1). I  know He will to turn the hearts of my brethren back to Him, if they repent. He is the only One who can do it!

Verses 40-41 —

Elijah put the prophets of Baal and put them to death. Then he said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” 

I speak the words the LORD has given me, in order to silence today’s Ahabs and their false prophets. They will ultimately burn in the lake of fire, unless they repent (Revelation 19:20). 

And when believers repent, they will hear the roar of a heavy shower  — a shower of living water within them. The famine for the Word of God will end. What will they eat? Here Jesus Christ’s promise to all in His church who repent from worshiping the god of Self 

Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Lord Jesus, let it be so, I pray, for you will come into those who repent, filling them with Your Holy Spirit! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 7 — THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT KNOWING HIM

Text: Isaiah 5:13-30

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “The Consequences of Not Knowing Him.”

Verse 13 —

Therefore, says the LORD. A good Bible student will want to know what the “therefore” is there for! Therefore — because His people do not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor consider His ways (Isaiah 5:12), they reveal that they have no knowledge of Him. The consequence of not knowing Him? They will go into exile, separated from His presence. It is the same today.

This “knowledge” is from the root word yada, which refers to the intimacy of a marriage between a man and a woman. He wants you to be married to Him, beloved!

God’s rebellious people had no respect for His deeds on their behalf, and the work of His hands on their behalf. Instead, they feasted with the world, with idolaters, with false prophets and teachers! It is the same today, among rebellious believers. With whom are you feasting, beloved? Whose words are you eating?

Because of their and your lack of intimate knowledge of Him, you will endure famine and drought. In the natural, the LORD commanded the clouds not to rain (5:6). Lack of rain means lack of crops. Lack of crops means famine. 

But then and now, many are in spiritual famine and drought —

Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.”

You will not be able to hear Him when He speaks, because you will be separated from His presence. But He intends to restore you, if you see your heart’s poverty-stricken condition and repent!

Verses 14-15 —

Therefore, because God’s people do not pay attention to His deeds and do not consider the work of His hands, Sheol (hell) has enlarged itself and opens its mouth wide to swallow them! There is no limit to how many of God’s rebellious people hell will swallow. All of man’s splendor, the multitudes, the pomp and tumult of their revelry, and those who jubilantly worship what the world worships, will descend into hell’s gaping mouth. 

Social status among His rebellious people will not affect His judgments against them. Both the low and the mighty will be abased (humbled). The eyes of the proud and lofty also will be abased.

Verses 16-17 —

But the LORD of Host’s judgment of the rebels among His people will cause Him to be exalted, because it is right for Him to bring down the proud, the lofty, the rebellious. He gives them what they have chosen to receive.

The holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. He is holy, His character above reproach. He judges rightly.

Why is He called righteous, in His judgment of His rebellious people? Isn’t it terrible to send people to hell? Ah, but they send themselves there, for they have been warned by the prophets He has sent again and again, and they have scoffed at His warnings. It was their choice to disobey, and now they will pay the price. He is true, both to His promises, and to His warnings.

The pride of His rebellious people — the land — will be turned over to lambs who will graze among the ruins. And strangers will come upon the ruins, and eat in the ruins of the homes of the wealthy, those who were prideful, greedy and cruel to their brethren.

Verse 18 — 

Woe to those who drag iniquity (moral perversity) with the cords of falsehood, and sin (willful disobedience) as if with cart ropes. What a picture! So much moral perversity that it must be dragged along behind them with the cords of their lies to their God and their brethren! So much willful disobedience that it must be piled in a cart, and pulled by ropes over their shoulders! They create great burdens for themselves! 

What are you dragging? Do you lie to God? Do you still willfully disobey Him? Then you are familiar with the weight of your sin and moral perversity, just as I was, before I repented and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, but then! My sin nature was crucified when I was filled, and the cords of sin and moral perversity were severed forever! What a weight was lifted! I was completely freed from slavery to sin, just as Jesus Christ promised (John 8:31-36). He will do the same for you, if you repent!

Verse 19 —

Woe to those who say, Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it, and let the purpose of the Holy one of Israel draw near, and come to pass, that we may know it! 

His rebellious people say to their God, “Bring it on! Show us what You are going to do! Hurry up and do it! We are not afraid of You!” 

Verse 20 —

Many of His people, then and now, call evil good and good evil. Woe to them! Many substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness, exchange sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet. 

They bless sin, and curse those who call them to repent. If there is light (revelation), they reject it and put spiritual darkness in its place. They reject the sweetness of God’s Word, which is like honey from the comb (Psalm 19:10), preferring the bitterness of their rebellion. 

John Oswalt says of those who mock God’s ways, “In order to justify their own behavior, they must (claim) that their evil is good, that their darkness is light, and that their bitterness is sweet.” 

Verse 21 — 

Even today, many of His people are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight! Woe to them! They use man’s wisdom to justify their sin. They trust man’s wisdom in order to make their ministries prosper. They think they know better than God. 

I am not against education. But many believers and leaders of today’s church exalt those who have doctorates, whose heads full of knowledge but whose hearts devoid of God. Oswalt confirms that many who teach in seminaries do not even believe in God and Christ, beloved! 

Verse 22-23 —

Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, then and now! They are not heroes or valiant men of the LORD. They are not ones who defend His holy name. They are defenders of their right to drink and participate in perverse sex. 

Woe to those who judge God’s sinning people as “not guilty,” because they receive payment for dismissing the sin. Woe to those who rob  those who are in the right, who are righteous before God!

Verses 24-25 —

Therefore, because His people rebel against Him, the LORD’s anger burns against them. So, just as a tongue of fire consumes stubble, and dry grass collapses into the flame, so the root of His rebellious people will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust. They will be consumed, they will collapse, they will rot, they will blow away as if they were dust. 

Why? He repeats the details of their rebellion. They have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. I wish I could say that today, God’s people no longer reject His law and despise His Word. 

I wish I could say that today, believers are holy as He is holy. But they reject and despise Him and His Word, just as in the day of Isaiah! They say to those who speak the truth, “Those words are harsh. Those words are painful for us to hear. Those words make us feel bad about ourselves! God is love, just love, that’s all He is! So you are not speaking for Him, and we will not listen to your words!”

So Isaiah sees what the LORD will do to His people then, just as I see what He will do to His people now, unless they repent! His anger burns against His rebellious people. 

His hand is stretched out (He strikes them down), to execute judgment upon them. Isaiah uses this phrase 16 times over 66 chapters. He strikes them down! And when He strikes them down, the mountains quake and the torn corpses of His rebellious people lie in the middle of streets and are swept away like refuse (filth). 

But because of all they have done, His anger is not yet spent. His hand is still stretched out, to further judge His wayward people!

Verse 26 —

Isaiah receives a terrifying vision of how the LORD will further judge His people. He will lift up a standard (a banner, a sign inviting invasion) to the distant nation (Babylon) and whistle for it from the ends of the earth!

And behold, it will come with speed, swiftly! Who is in charge? The LORD, even when He calls enemies to discipline His people! And Babylon will hurry, speedily! The LORD’s judgments are swift!

Verse 27 —

The LORD describes the invading army. No one in it will be weary or stumble. They will be surefooted and strong. None slumbers or sleeps. They are not lazy. Nor is the belt of the waist undone. They are in a constant state of readiness for battle! Nor is its sandal strap broken. They are perfectly equipped!

Verse 28 — 

The invading army, Babylon, is poised for battle! Their arrows are sharp. All its bows are bent, ready to send the arrows to their target. The hoofs of their horses are as hard as flint, fully protected against the hard ground. The wheels of their chariots are like a whirlwind, because they move so quickly!

Verse 29 —

The roaring of Babylon is like a lioness, like the roaring of young lions. Babylon is powerful, it makes a great noise, it is strong. It growls as it seizes its prey — God’s rebellious people! And it carries them off, with no one to deliver them from its jaws! The LORD has commanded this army to overrun His people, to destroy them if they resist, or to capture them and to carry them into exile.

Verse 30 —

Isaiah hears the growl of the armies of Babylon. It is like the roaring of the sea. And Isaiah sees the armies of Babylon coming into the land. 

The enemy’s armies are so vast that their feet, their horses, and their chariots create a cloud of dust that darkens the sky and hides the sun. And indeed, the LORD’s rebellious people will be distressed (sorrowful and anguished), at the sight of them!

Beloved, the LORD takes no pleasure in punishing His people — 

Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’”

He has commanded them to be holy as He is holy, good as He is good, righteous as He is righteous. But they have not paid attention to or considered His deeds and the works of His hands, on their behalf. 

They have rejected Him in favor of their own wisdom, and in favor of the gods of the lands that surround them. They call evil good and good evil. So, He disciplines and punishes them. If they go into exile, they will survive, He says through His prophet, Jeremiah 

Jeremiah 27:12  I spoke words like all these to Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people, and live! 13 “Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, famine and pestilence, as the LORD has spoken to that nation (people) which will not serve the king of Babylon?”

But again, many will rebel, and will refuse to go into exile, and they will die. The LORD will not allow them to be victorious over King Nebuchadnezzar, the servant He has chosen to discipline and punish His wayward people (Jeremiah 25:9).

It is the same today, beloved. Even when the LORD brings punishment upon His people, even when He disciplines them, many resist and rebel. And they perish because they have rebelled against Him, though He warned them again and again.

If His hand is stretched out toward you, to discipline you, then allow Him to do His work in you. Repent and return to Him. He will surely restore you!

Lord Jesus, may those who believe in you hear and heed Your words, and repent. Amen.

JUDGING SIN

[SW378] 5/11/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Judging Sin”

 Text: 1Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15-17, etc.

Are Christians supposed to judge sin? If we are to judge sin, then what is the purpose of judging sin? Whom do we judge? Whom do we not judge? 

I will show you that believers must judge sinning believers in the church, and I will show you why. I will show you that we are not to judge sin in the world, and I will show you why.

I tell you the truth, Jesus Christ is angry that sin is celebrated and elevated among believers and by leaders in His church. Do you not know that when you condone sin, you yourself sin? It was the same in Corinth in the days of Paul. And through Paul, the Lord has much to say to you!

1 Corinthians 5

Verse 1 —

Paul is shocked! He is horrified! A report has come to him that there is immorality within the church at Corinth — a particular kind of immorality that even pagans do not practice! What is the sin? A brother in Christ has his father’s wife. He is living with her sexually, in an ongoing relationship. The sin is incest.
The Law of Moses is not negated by the New Testament. The Old Testament was the only book the early church used, because the New Testament had not been written yet! Paul used it to help converted pagans understand the character of God. 

The Word of God says the sin of incest exposes the woman’s nudity to her son, and also strips the honor of the father. The consequence for the sin of incest is death — 

Leviticus 20:11 “If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered  (denuded disgracefully) his father’s nakedness (nudity); both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

Today, the consequence of death remains for those who sin, because in the day of judgment, they will be found guilty of the sin they have chosen to commit. By their own choice, therefore, they will sentence themselves to hell.

Incest is so abhorrent and repulsive that even the pagans forbid it. Even in their earthly wisdom, they would say that such a thing is abhorrent and an insult to the father of this young man. Yet the church at Corinth celebrates the relationship!

Verse 2 —

The believers at Corinth have become prideful about this young man’s incest. They have given their seal of approval to it. How? They have not rebuked him, nor have they warned him to stop, nor have they removed him from the congregation. Paul rebukes them, saying the young man should have been removed from the congregation at Corinth, but he has not been removed.  

Why would you remove a sinner from a congregation? The rest will see his continued presence among them as acceptance of whatever sin is being committed, as if the Lord is not going to punish any of them for sinning. Therefore, everyone will take sin lightly. 

I continually see the effect of not removing sinning believers from those in the pews and in the pulpits of churches in the U.S., and around the world. Sin has become rampant and even blatant, done openly and unashamedly, among believers! 

The church, who should be Jesus Christ’s spotless, blameless bride (Ephesians 5:27, Revelation 19:7, 21:2 & 9), considers and teaches that nearly everything God says is sin (1Corinthians 6:9-10) is no longer sin. Many believers consider the church’s acceptance of sin to be an excuse for they themselves to sin. 

But sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), whether or not you count yourself as a Christian, as this young man did. Look at the Holy Spirit’s judgment against Ananias and Sapphira’s greed that led them to lie to the church leaders — the Holy Spirit struck both of them dead (see Acts 5:5, 10)! 

Look at Jesus Christ’s admonishment to five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3! They were in danger of losing their salvation. Beloved, He admonishes those He loves!

Do you not know, beloved, that sin among believers — sin in God’s camp — causes the whole church to be spiritually defeated in every way by the enemy of their souls, Satan! The church has no spiritual backbone these days. She has not exposed, rebuked, and removed the sinners among her.Therefore, she is weak and powerless and entirely defeated. 

In Joshua 7, Achan willfully disobeyed the LORD’s direct command to take nothing from Jericho, whom Israel had soundly defeated. He secretly took and then hid treasures in his tent. But nothing is hidden from the eyes of the One with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Because of Achan’s sin, Israel was soundly defeated when they attacked Ai. Joshua did not know about Achan’s sin, and fell down before the LORD —

Joshua 7:10   So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 

Notice that the Lord did not say, “Someone has sinned.” He said, “Israel has sinned.” If one sins, all are guilty! When the Lord showed Joshua that it was Achan who had sinned, and Achan confessed it, he was put to death. Then Israel battled Ai again, and soundly defeated them.

Sin leads to defeat, and ultimately, death! Why do believers take sin lightly today? They are taught to do so! Thus, they reveal that they have no discernment, and do not know Jesus Christ, for they do not know His voice, but run after the voices of strangers (see John 10:4-5, 27). 

I tell you the truth, every breath I take is a prayer for the church, for she has become a silly dove, who is without understanding and readily mates with the world system, just like Ephraim/northern Israel (see Hosea 7:11)!

Verses 3-5 —

Now, Paul issues his judgment on the silly doves at Corinth! He, on his part, has judged sin in the church. He is not in Corinth, but he is with them in the Holy Spirit; that is, by the Spirit, He is able to judge them and has already judged the sinning believer who has committed incest, as if he were present with them. 

Paul says, in the name of our Lord Jesus (theirs and Paul’s), when the church at Corinth is assembled, Paul will be with them by the Holy Spirit, and with the power of our Lord Jesus, Paul commands them to deliver the sinning believer to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature! What? Send him away, and do it in front of the whole church? Jesus says likewise, and so does Paul, to Timothy —

Matthew 18:17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

1Timothy 5:20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

Why bring the sinning believer before the whole church and then send him away? So that Satan can sift the man like wheat — shaking and tossing him. 

It was the same with Jesus when Peter boasted that he would never leave Jesus —

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (when you repent for your sin of pride), strengthen thy brethren.” (KJV)

When the man repents (see 2Corinthians 2:6-8) and then asks the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, his sin nature — which is at the root of his lust for his father’s wife — will be crucified (Galatians 5:24). Then, his spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (the day of judgment). 

Why do we judge sin among believers? The primary purpose of publicly exposing, rebuking, and putting out a sinning believer is his or her salvation!

Verse 6 —

Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth that their pride is not morally good. It gives Jesus Christ a black eye every time a believer sins. Scoffers will scoff, saying, “See? They are no different from us! Christianity is a big joke!”

Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump of dough? In the same way, a little sin spreads through the whole church! How?

If one person’s sin is not rebuked, Satan will run riot with the rest of the sinning believers whose sin nature is still alive and well. Well, say the rest of the sinning believers, you did not rebuke his sin, so how can you rebuke ours? Hmmm, says the pastor. I suppose you are right. So I will not rebuke your sin or anyone else’s sin. 

What? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin continue to live in it (see Romans 6:2)? Put out the sinning believer who has shown by his actions that he has not died to sin — his sin nature and its lusts and desires are alive and well!

Verse 7 —

Because of the perverseness of human nature, and the great desire of sinning believers to have their sin blessed and not cursed, Paul clearly speaks, as Christ’s representative, “Clean out the old leaven so you may be a new lump, just as you are (to be ) unleavened.” 

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to get rid of the leaven (a type of sin) — the sinning believer who has his father’s wife. 

Beloved, do you not know that there should be no sin in you? Christ died on a cross not only for your past sins to be forgiven and not only to reconcile you to God, but to rise on the third day and ascend and pour out His Holy Spirit so your sin nature (the leaven you were born with as a child of Adam) is crucified! Then the leaven in you will never rise again!

Verse 8 —

It always bothers me when translators add “let us” to passages, as if it is a suggestion. Paul issues commands here. Therefore, Paul says, celebrate the Passover, and not the sin of this believer. 

Death has passed over us, if we believe into Jesus and remain in Him! O believers in the church at Corinth, O believers in the church of today, why sin against yourself by not rebuking the sinning believer? Do you not know that you put yourself back under a death sentence?

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to celebrate not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness — which this man had against his father — but with the unleavened (sin-free) bread of sincerity (purity of heart) and truth. I tell you the truth, you will not be able to do that until your sin nature has been dealt a death blow! 

I exhort you to ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and then wait for His promise (Acts 4:1-5)! He will purify your heart, and you will know it when He has done it!

Verses 9-11 —

Paul writes to the believers at Corinth, exhorting them not to associate (mix with, gather with) with immoral people. But he did not mean the (sexually) immoral people of the world — or with the covetous, or swindlers, or idolaters. 

If the believers at Corinth was ordered not to associate with unbelieving sinners, then they would have to go out of the world. But we are commanded by Jesus Christ to go out into the world and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must be among them, but not sin with them. 

Spirit-filled believers are not part of the world, but are in it, says Jesus Christ, when He speaks of what it will be like for His followers after their own personal Pentecost —

John 17:14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

If we are to associate with the sinning world, in order to spread the gospel, then who should we not associate with? Paul commands the believers at Corinth not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous (sexually promiscuous), or an idolater (worship of self), or a reviler (abuser), or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one! They are false brethren! 

But look! We have them in our pulpits! They are members of our church boards! They are in our pews!

Verses 12-13 —

For what have I to do, asks Paul, with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? That is a rhetorical question. Of course you do, Paul is saying! 

Why not judge those who are outside the church? God will judge them. They are already under His wrath, just as John the Baptist testifies —

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

But in the church, Paul has already said, sinning believers must be judged! Remove the wicked man from your midst! Do not mix with him, do not gather with him, do not even eat with him!  If you do, you incur God’s judgment upon yourself, for to praise rather than rebuke sinning believers is to help them on the way to hell. You give them and yourself a death sentence, beloved!

Knowing that believers are to judge sinning believers, how should it be done? Jesus issues commands to the church regarding sin in the church —

Matthew 18:15   “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.” 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever, heathen) and a tax collector.”

Let him be to you as an unbeliever, just as I noted earlier in this message, from Matthew 18:17!

May the whole apostate church repent for doing what is culturally acceptable rather than what is right before God! By deciding in their own minds that it is not loving to rebuke sin, the sinning believer does not repent and will not be saved on the day of judgment. 

Do you not understand that the church thus helps sinning believers onto the broad path that leads to hell (see Matthew 7:13), and thus sins? Do you not understand that, because the church does not rebuke and judge sin among her members, she is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and does not know it? Jesus Christ rebukes the church at Laodicea —

Revelation 3:17 “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich . . . 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

Make it so, Lord Jesus, I pray. May every member of Your church repent and ask to be refined and purified in Your fire, by asking Your Father in heaven to fill them with Your Holy Spirit! Surely, You will answer by baptizing them with the Holy Spirit and fire! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 6 — POISONOUS BERRIES

Text: Isaiah 5:1-12

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Poisonous Berries.”

Verse 1 —

The LORD is Isaiah’s well-beloved, and the well-beloved of all who are entirely His. Many would think that calling Him your Beloved is an irreverent way to speak of the LORD, but that is precisely what He wants to do in the hearts of every believer, just as Jesus Christ prayed to His Father —

John 17:25   “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

God Within you, His love within you! He wants all of you, He wants your whole heart to be devoted to Him and for you to love Him with His divine love which He will pour out into your heart by the Holy Spirit whom He gives to whoever asks (see Romans 5:5)! I cannot help but speak of this great work that the Lord will do in the hearts of all who seek Him!

What does Isaiah do for his LORD? He sings a song to Him, one given to Him concerning the LORD’s vineyard. 

Isaiah’s beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill — prime farmland. The vineyard is God’s people (Isaiah 5:7), then and now — those who have believed into Jesus Christ. He also still calls His people, the Jews, to receive their Messiah, who is Jesus.

Verse 2 — 

The LORD tilled the fertile soil on the hill where He planted His vineyard. He removed the stones, and planted it with a grapevine, so it would produce a bright red grape, the most desirable and prized grape. He made sure that there was nothing to impede its growth and production.

He built a tower in the middle of it, where a watchman was posted. He hewed out a winepress in it. He provided everything needed for a productive vineyard.

Then, He expected His vineyard to produce good grapes, bright red grapes, because He is good and He took perfect care of His vineyard. But it produced only worthless ones — literally, poisonous berries. 

Verses 3-4 —

The LORD speaks. And now, My people, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more could I have done for My vineyard?

He is good, and did only good to and for His vineyard. He provided all that it needed in order for it to produce grapes. 

Why, then, did it not produce what it should have produced? It was not His fault that the grapevine He carefully planted bore poisonous berries. But the fault lies with His people, who rebelled, and rebel today, against Him. Do you understand that when you sin, you are rebelling against the LORD? And your sin makes you produce fruit that is contrary to Him, even fruit that is poisonous!

Rebellion always leads to ruin. I know it firsthand, from my own rebellion and my own ruin. But He gave me a song of restoration, when I repented. Then He and I sang this song —

Isaiah 27:2  In that day, “A vineyard of wine, sing of it! 3 “I, the LORD, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day. 4 I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, then I would step on them, I would burn them completely. 5 Or let him rely on My protection, let him make peace with Me, let him make peace with Me. 6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.”

Indeed, it is a beautiful song! Now I rely on His protection. My heart is no longer divided, but wholly His! He forgave me, reconciled me to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, and then filled me with His Holy Spirit so I love Him with His love! I took root and sprouted so I now bear the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Glory to God for what He has done!

Verse 5 —

But His people did not turn back to Him, though He sent prophets to warn them, again and again. Jeremiah says 

Jeremiah 25:3 “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 “And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear . . .

And the LORD Himself says —

Jeremiah 26:4-5 “And you (Jeremiah) will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened;“to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”’”

Jeremiah 29:19 because they have not listened to My words,’ declares the LORD, ‘which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,’ declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 32:33 “They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction.”

Jeremiah 35:14  . . . “I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. 15 “Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me.”

Jeremiah 44:4 “Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.”

Why did they rebel? As it is today, many false shepherds ruin His vineyard. They trample down His field. They make it a desolate wilderness (Jeremiah 12:10). 

His people preferred (and prefer today) the soft words of false teachers and prophets rather than the hard truth that the LORD’s teachers and prophets spoke to them then, and speak to them now. It is truth that brings restoration, if they heed it and repent.

Because of their rebellion, He tells them what He is going to do to His vineyard. He will destroy it. He will remove its hedge and it will be consumed (eaten up by Babylon’s invading army). 

He will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground — trampled by the feet of the vast armies of Babylon! Are you trampled ground, as I was when I was dead in my sins and extremely disabled by progressive multiple sclerosis (MS)?

The good news for me then, and for you now, is that His purpose in discipline and punishment is always that His people would turn back to Him. 

Verse 6 —

The LORD continues His description of the desolation His people will face, because of their disobedience. His beautiful vineyard, which produced for Him only poisonous berries, will be laid waste by Him. He will no longer care for it, no longer prune it, no longer hoe it so weeds do not choke it. And the fertile ground will become parched, for He will charge (command) the clouds not to rain on it. 

Verse 7 —

Why will He destroy what He so carefully planted? Because of their rebellion!

The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. They are the vine He planted, expecting bright red grapes.

But His delightful plant bore the poisonous berries of bloodshed (oppression, and even the sacrifice of their children in fires to false gods). He looked for justice (for proper, godly judgments by His people), but found only bloodshed. They chose false gods instead of Him!

And His delightful plant bore a cry of distress (a shriek)! He looked for righteousness, for His people to be as He is, to be right as He is right. But instead, He heard the shrieks of children as they were burned to false gods, and the shrieks of slaves who were beaten by their wicked masters, and the shrieks of those who were robbed of their land by their greedy brethren. 

Verses 8-9 —

Woe to those, the LORD says, who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room, so that they have to live alone in the midst of the land! It is a picture of those who are greedy, who want to hoard great tracts of land, and who are never satisfied with what the LORD has provided for them. They buy so much land that there is none left on which others can live. 

To Isaiah’s ears, the LORD has sworn, “Surely!” Without a doubt! My people, you were greedy for land and houses, so others were left desolate, with no place to live. So, your many houses will be made desolate — even great and fine ones — without occupants. He will remove His people from the land that they hoard, and the houses they treasure.

Verse 10 —

The LORD will also make the land unfruitful. Ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath (7.5 gallons) of wine, rather than the expected 500 gallons. A homer (2.5 pounds) of seed will yield but an ephah (1/10 of a homer) of grain, about one day’s gleaning. The yield of the land will be virtually nothing. 

Verse 11 —

The LORD sees all that His people are doing. They rise early in the morning so they can begin to drink. They stay up late in the evening so wine may inflame them (perverse sexual passion in view here)! 

Paul warns the believers in Corinth that no drunkard or any other sinner will inherit the kingdom of God —

1Corinthians 6:9   Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the good news comes in the next verse —

1Corinthians 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Have you been washed? Have you been inwardly cleansed of sin? Or do you rise early to drink in what the world drinks in, and stay up late, passionate for what the world is passionate for? 

Then repent! Turn back to Him, and cry out to be filled with His Holy Spirit. You will no longer crave what the world craves, but will greatly desire continual fellowship with your Maker!

Verse 12 —

The LORD’s people were partying with the world, actively rebelling against the LORD, doing what the nations around them did. They held great banquets, accompanied by lyre and harp, flute and tambourine, and wine! 

But they did not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor did they consider the work of His hands. 

What were His deeds? He took perfect care of them, so they would produce bright red grapes, but they produced only poisonous berries. 

So they would see His deeds of discipline and punishment, for He would send them into exile after they had been overrun by Babylon’s armies. Remember, He does it so He may restore those who repent!

They were His work, but they produced poisonous berries instead of bright red grapes. And so they will experience the work of His hands when He removes His protection and Babylon invades Judah and even Jerusalem, and carries them into exile!

They did not consider, they did not pay attention. They had no respect for His deeds on their behalf, and the work of His hands on their behalf. 

Instead, they feasted with the world, with idolaters, with false prophets and teachers! It is the same today, among God’s people, and it was the same for me, before I repented and He changed my heart.  

Beloved, He has provided for you in every way. What fruit do you bear, for Him? He has tended you, to make you prosperous and so that you produce His glorious fruit —

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (faith), 23 gentleness (humility), self-control (Spirit-control) . . .

Or have you produced the poisonous fruit of the flesh (the sin nature)? Paul describes that fruit to the believers in Galatia —

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But those who belong to Christ Jesus are commanded to crucify their sin nature, after they have come to faith, by asking Him to purify them by filling them with His Holy Spirit, thus making them partakers of His nature 

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Judah’s passions and desires are on full display in this passage. It is the same today, among God’s people. And so, like Isaiah, I speak boldly and bluntly to you, and warn you to turn back to the Lord. 

Turn back now! Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Sprit! He will cleanse you inwardly, and crucify the sin nature in you, which you inherited from your father, Adam. Do it today, for a day of judgment is coming!

Lord, may Your people hear and heed, may they see the promises that repentance brings. Amen.